Bloodline Analysis: Westfalen Emilio

This international-level dressage horse and his veteran rider Isabell Werth are known for near-perfect performances.

Of the three horses campaigned by German Olympian Isabell Werth profiled in this series, Emilio is the youngest and newest to her lineup. reported: “Emilio was first competed internationally by Isabell in 2014 and moved up to Large Tour in 2015. Isabell and Emilio have won 22 out of 32 starts at Large Tour.” The 12-year-old bay Westfalen gelding and his veteran rider are known for near-perfect performances. At the time of this writing, they were ranked third in the world.

Isabell Werth and Emilio at the 2018 CHIO Aachen, Germany
(Arnd Bronkhorst –

Otto Schalter, director of the Westfalen North American (NRW-NA) studbook, says it’s no surprise that Emilio is a world-class performer. At home in Germany, Schalter breeds sport horses and works for the Westfälisches Pferdestammbuch (Westfalen Studbook, NRW). Each year, he spends three months or more in the U.S., leading the inspection tour for Westfalen North America (the official daughter organization of the Westfalen Studbook). According to Schalter, “The Westfalen Studbook is the second largest breeding organization in Germany. We have a 100-plus-year breeding tradition, which is focused on proven mare lines and the incorporation of the best stallions into our breeding program. Our breeding goals are like those of all of the larger German breeding organizations: to produce exceptional sport horses with good rideability and sound conformation.” Schalter hails Emilio as a case in point: This is a purpose-bred horse who measures up to his outstanding pedigree in conformation, performance and disposition.

Veterinarian Andrea Sieg and her husband, Jimmy Heath, operate Westphalians for USA, LLC., in Jackson, South Carolina. With more than 100 horses on their property, Sieg and Heath specialize in Westfalen breeding as well as the importation of top frozen semen from Germany. They have bred, raised, trained and sold horses that have been successful at regional and national championships in the U.S., including the Westfalen champion at Dressage at Devon. Sieg is also a breed inspector for Westfalen NA. She has bred at least a dozen of her homebred mares to Emilio’s sire, Ehrenpreis, and says the offspring tend to be “willing with a refined face and a super hind end.”

Schalter hails Ehrenpreis as a successful stallion who passes along the best of what the Westfalen E-line is known for: solid build, fluid conformation, good jumping ability, cooperative dispositions and great rideability. According to Schalter, “Ehrenpreis’ sire, Ehrentusch, is a proven prolific stallion, and it’s not a surprise to see him in the pedigree of a top performing dressage horse, especially as here crossed with the Rubinstein I dam, Riva OLD. We see Ehrentusch descendants who are successful internationally in all sport-horse disciplines. Another current high-profile example would be the upcoming star stallion, Escolar, who is dominating the breeding scene and also doing really well in dressage competitions with German rider Hubertus Schmidt.”

(For further discussion of the Rubinstein I line, see the March installment of this series.) Rubinstein appears in the pedigree of four of the top 11 horses Dressage Today has profiled, second only to Donnerhall, who appears in six.)

Licensed by both the Westfalen and Rheinlander studbooks, Ehrentusch stood at the North Rhein Westfalen (NRW) State Stud at Warendorf and sired at least 10 licensed stallions. One of Ehrentusch’s best-known offspring was Escolar’s sire, Estobar, champion stallion at the 2006 NRW licensing. In 2009, at the 70-day stallion performance test, Estobar was a clear winner in the dressage category and he was campaigned by Germany’s Ingrid Klimke in eventing and Wolfhard Witte in dressage at different points. Estobar’s foals are known for strong backs and hindquarters, modern type and good movement. His son, Emilio Sánchez, currently stands at the State Stud at Celle and is a prime example.

Sieg, who has great faith in the E-line says, “I love the stallion Ehrenpreis and I consider him an underutilized stallion. Ehrenpreis is a very fancy black stallion with beautiful, round, compact conformation. He tends to sire foals who are equally fancy, dark in color and extremely rideable. In our U.S. market, where Adult-Amateur-friendly horses are much in demand, I’ve had great success placing Ehrenpreis offspring.” Sieg explains there is currently a revival of interest in the Westfalen E-line, in part because of Werth’s success with Emilio.

According to Sieg, when Emilio was younger, he didn’t necessarily demonstrate the flashy movement of a world-class competitive dressage horse and the dressage community may have even been surprised by Werth’s selection of this horse. But, Sieg says, E-line horses tend to be slow to mature. “These are not those horses who will blow you away with their movement at the foal auctions. They do have super hind ends, which will eventually allow for superior performance, but we don’t see the hindquarters mature and really influence movement until age 5 or so.” Sieg adds that though Emilio is a taller horse, Ehrenpreis does not generally tend to produce “really huge” horses and her homebred Ehrenpreis foals have all matured to 16.2 or under. In Sieg’s experience, E-line horses tend to be willing to work, forgiving and slightly less sensitive than many other top dressage lines. Sieg says, “Therefore, these same horses often need more leg than some other lines that are currently popular among breeders, such as Sandro Hit, the established Florestan and Donnerhall cross or some of the Dutch blood, such as Ferro horses, who are often quite sensitive!”

On the dam side, Emilio’s mother, Celina, was a Westfalen mare by Cacir, a French-bred Anglo-Arabian. Born in 1981, Cacir was a contemporary of the better-known Anglo-Arab stallion Matcho, who stood at the State Stud at Celle, siring many graded sons and having a considerable influence on dressage horse breeding in Germany. (For more discussion of Matcho, see the February 2018 column, highlighting Desperados FRH). Sieg says, “I’m not as familiar with Cacir as Matcho, but we can hypothesize what the Anglo-Arab blood adds to Emilio’s pedigree. Arabians are flashy, but they are also strong, hardy horses with great endurance. Anglo-Arabs tend to be compact and round in conformation. These are all qualities that we see reflected in Emilio.” 

Schalter notes that Cacir is out of the mare, Resena, who was also the mother of Inschallah, a highly influential Anglo Arabian sire who stood in Germany from 1970 to 1990. Approved by six studbooks, including Westfalen, Inschallah produced 30 licensed sons, 70-plus premium daughters, national champions in both show jumping and dressage and Olympians among other progeny. Inschallah is known for passing along enormous gaits, sound conformation and a willing temperament. According to Schalter, “Cacir also had many successful offspring in both dressage and jumping in both Europe and the United States. Cacir is known for passing along strength and when crossed with Westfalen mares, has produced both jumpers and dressage horses. They weren’t always the prettiest type, per se, but have demonstrated great athleticism and ability in sport.”

In The International Warmblood Horse: A Worldwide Guide to Breeding and Bloodlines, co-author Celia Clarke writes: “All the usual Hanoverian bloodlines can be found somewhere among the breeding and competition stock being produced in Westphalia. However, what makes the Westfalen special is the importance that the blood of four stallions not generally found elsewhere has played in the development of the breed and its outstanding record as a source of competition horses.” Clarke identifies the four stallions: Frühling (1960), founder of the Westfalen F-line; Papayer XX, founder of the Paradox line; Pluchino XX, founder of the Perseus/Pilatus line; and Ramzes X (1938), founder of the Westfalen R-line (from which American-based Roemer descended). Though Emilio’s pedigree includes a lesser-known stallion in Cacir and a less-prolific E-line sire in Ehrenpreis, it stands out that his pedigree reflects the influence of three out of four Westfalen foundation stallions. On the sireside, we see linebreeding to Romadour II, and on the dam side, both Frühling and Pilatus appear.

Schalter comments: “On the dam side, Frühling stands out as an important influence. A stallion born in 1960, he produced both dressage horses and jumpers who competed through international levels. We also see the sire Pilatus, who is again one of these stallions that produced very well. He’s sire to Pilot, a famous jumper producer who is also now a famous dam-sire, and to Polydor, another top jumper producer in the world. This damline can be traced back to Klärchen, a mare born in 1924 who established the foundation mare line that led to Pilatus. It’s a 100-year-old mare line that continues to be really successful today.”






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